Pippalou's Blog
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Dear Pup Joe,

I got your recent email, and I'm writing to explain some things that you, as a young dog just starting out in the world, evidently do not understand.

First of all, always remember that you're dealing with a human. You mentioned that your human seems to have difficulty doing things at... More

You may have noticed when shopping at your local Walmart, or wherever you go, that the prices of dog treats have been rising at a steady rate.

The upward price spiral is pretty frightening, and it's no use trying to explain to your dogs that you're going to have to take out a second mortgage and get another job just to supply their treat habit.  Do they care?  Nah!  Just hand... More
Dogs are creatures of habit.  If you change anything about their daily schedule, they raise their eyebrows, shake their heads and stand firm until you figure out your mistake.

My dogs have certain treats they get at certain times of the day, and my treat closet had better be well-stocked with all the right stuff.  Or Else...

You may or may not know of these dried chicken br... More
A couple of weeks ago, I came home from the local Walmart, laden down with lots of bags (yes, plastic bags - white, recyclable) full of all kinds of good things.  For me, you ask?   Not a chance.

There may have been one or two things for me, nestling way down in the bottom, underneath all those dog treats, dog food, dog toys, dog this, dog that, dog etc.

I gazed at the weal... More
Old age has its privileges.  Twelve years ago, I was just a pup, and back in those days, I didn't know much.  When SHE Who Must Be Obeyed said, Come, I came...most of the time.  When SHE said, Sit or Down, I sat or lay down, just as I was supposed to do.  And I never, ever chewed anything up or stole any food or engaged in any of those types of criminal activities that some oth... More

Have you ever heard that newish “word” (which is not a real word)?  It's been around for a couple of years or so. You know the one. STAYcation. I mean, really. That's not a real word. You don't just take one word and stick it onto part of another word, and say it's a word.

Think about how ridiculous it sounds t... More

Some dogs love to chase cars, some get their kicks out of biting the tires.  My dog's a biter. Now, actually, she has an excuse. Pippa is a heeler (Australian Cattle Dog), a herding breed, and heelers live by the rule that if you want anything or anyone to move – or move faster – you just give them a nice sharp nip.

For ... More

It was just last night that that it happened. 9:07pm exactly. The final straw, one step too far, the proverbial line crossed. I shudder to think back on it!

But first, I want you to realize that I am a good dog. They say, “Sit,” I sit. They say, “Come,” I come. Well....most of the time anyway. There are certain time... More

My Red Heeler, Pippa, has two very set ideas about going out to play or walk.

The first is that weather just doesn't come into the equation. Whatever the weather, Pippa is going out. She follows the US Postal Service motto... “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of t... More

I read in the local paper about a dog adoption event, and it got me thinking. A lot of my friends have connected with the right dog, and they get lots of love and companionship out of the bargain, so I decided I'd give it a try.

The event was only a few days away, but luckily they still had room for another human. Early on the bi... More

One of the quietest breeds I've ever had is the Australian Cattle Dog, aka Heeler.   A primary goal in the development of the breed was to produce a herding dog who worked without barking.

My Heeler/German Shepherd mix, Scout, generally follows the book.  She rarely barks.  But put her in the car, and all bets are off.

As soon as her paws hit the seat, she starts belting out her own special noise with great intensity.  She sounds like a hungry monkey who's spotted a bunch of bananas that's just out of reach.

It's not barking.  It's more like an over... More
When I was a child, my mother would occasionally, not too often, bring home small, inexpensive gifts to my brother and me that had no relation to any special day and were just given out of the goodness of her heart.  She called such a little present a happy.

Nowadays, I mostly get happies from my dogs.  Not so much from Scout anymore, but Pippa is fond of searching out a special g... More
Scout and Pippa are mending their ways for the year 2013, and here are a few of the areas they've resolved to improve in the coming twelve months.

1. (Pippa)  I will not pop my racquetballs anymore.  Of course, since she bought those better ones that I can't pop no matter how hard I try, I don't have much of a poppin' chance, do I???

2. (Scout)  I will come when I'm ca... More
Three years ago, we moved from suburbia to the country.  The wide open spaces, the woods with walking trails we've blazed ourselves and the peace and quiet have been worth moving for, and the dogs love to be able to walk and run and play without leashes.

There is no "leash law" out here, and those residents who have been here all their lives take that to mean that their dogs can run wherever and whenever they please.

Every time we go anywhere in the car, we come upon dogs investigating things in the street or trotting along at the side of the road taking walks on their own.

As we drive along, they amble down their driveways or bound ... More

Getting sick is never fun.  But with one or more dogs around, getting sick can be a bit more difficult than just missing work or not doing all the things you need or want to do.  These are my top ten reasons that I absolutely CANNOT get sick!

10.    The dogs want out.

 9.     The dogs want in.

 8.     The dogs are hungry.
Pippa loves racquetballs.  You could carve it on a tree trunk with a heart around it, and you wouldn't go wrong.  No other ball will do as well for this dog.

Problem is, racquetballs pop.  And they pop easily.  Pippa has it down to a science.  A few well-placed chomps of the teeth and any racquetball will split in two, usually in under a minute.  Our lab we use... More
Build a better squeaky toy, and Pippa and I will beat a path to your door.

Pippa is a Squeaker.  Or, in other words, a die-hard squeaky toy addict.  She got started on fluffy little stuffed toys that have a plastic squeaker inside.  Those were nice, but when I brought home one of those tennis balls that has the little tube type squeaker stuck into it, she went nuts.

Sh... More
Fall and winter is the time of year when the dogs and I ramble around for hours in the woods.  No bugs that bite, only brambles that catch, and it's easier to negotiate through low-growing trees that have fewer leaves.

Through the middle of our woods is a ravine, and at any given point it's depth may be anywhere from two to twenty feet.  The sides are mostly dirt and roots.  In some spots, there are plants and trees growing horizontally out of the sheer walls.  When the rain is heavy enough, it's a swift running creek, and at the deepest points, the water has eroded everything away except for smoo... More
The autumn wind blows across the front pasture, turning the four-foot high grasses into a tossing ocean of dark red, green and gold.  In the back, the two dogs ponder the new devastation.  Not a blade of grass over 6 inches high, save that here and there a few stripped stalks of Johnson grass stand drunkenly defiant.

No tall grass back here anymore.  No rabbits feeding, no mo... More
What happens in a dog's day?  You take them out to play once or twice, take them on a walk or two, maybe brush them a bit, feed them, and the rest of the time they're on their own.

But if you think they're just lying around daydreaming, think again.  Every dog, no matter what breed, size or number of gray cells knows how to Watch and Learn.

Lots of my friends have told me a... More
Dog training does not have to be difficult.  It can be frustrating for you and for your dog, but keep in mind a few basic things to make the training easier for everybody.

Have Patience!  Patience is very important when training a dog.  As long as you stay calm and control your temper, you'll have a better chance of communicating effectively with your dog.  Yellin... More

Something rough and wet strokes my cheek. It's 5:30 am. The wake-up alarm system is in perfect order – a gentle lick from Pippa, a slobbery slurp from Scout.

I groan and hide under the covers. “Come on, please, just 15 more minutes?”

Plan B goes into effect. A forty-pound weight (Pippa) takes up residence on my stomach and canine claws (Scout's) scrape furiously at the pillow and my hair. “All right, all right!! I'm up!!”  Plan B always works.

You see how it is?  All through the ages they've said that Man is Master, and Dog is... well, dog.  But I don't think so.&... More

I hand out two bones to Scout & Pippa.  To me, these bones are basically the same, not much to choose between them.  How little humans know about bones!

The dogs start in on them.  Scout goes to work assiduously, licking, biting, gnawing away.  Nothing exists but the bone.

Pippa looks at her bone...looks at Scout's bone... Then she considers hers again, licks ... More
Ever watch your dog when he's asleep?  Sometimes they start to quiver and jerk their legs - running in their dreams, and then they start making this muted barking, a sort of high-pitched oof. Their mouths stay closed so their lips puff out with each Oof.  At first, they breathe evenly, then... twitch, jerk, oof, oof, quiver, jerk, oof! oof oof!  What ... More
All right, fellow members (and whatever non-members may drop by), I'm going to give this blog stuff a whirl and see what happens.  I give no guarantees, but it may just be so incredibly good you'll be begging for more!  Or maybe not. :)

So, our subject today is Velcro Dogs.  Now you ask, what is a Velcro Dog?

Well, think about Velcro - it's got two sides and they stick... More
Hello.  My name is Joey, and I am a Barkaholic.

At least that's what they tell me.  I have no problem with the amount I bark.  After all, as long as I don't feel compelled to bark, what's the problem.  I only bark when I want to, and I can stop anytime!
I just don't want to stop.   I have a duty.  There is a need for barking in any household.

I know what yo... More
What did one dog say to the other dog?    Meetcha at the stink!*

We're out running and playing, a lovely day, with the breeze blowing my hair and the sun warming... but wait!  There's something else on that breeze!  A heady aroma - drifting, tantalizing - coming from somewhere nearby.

I look around and see everyone has caught the smell.  Heads are raised, nos... More
The trouble with Henry?  Well, there's really not any.  At least not anything major.  He always just looks like there is.

Pugs just naturally have funny faces, and since Henry's a pug, he goes right along with the pug crowd and wears his funny face everywhere he goes.

When the forehead wrinkles up and the eyes look distressed,  Henry seems very worried or very dep... More
Ever had a herding dog?  If you have, you know the answer to that question.  Herding dogs are incurably bossy.  They butt into other dogs' business all the time with the battle cry, I'll take care of this!  They must see themselves as Superdogs with capes flying out behind them.

For example...  My mother's mixed breed Jake used... More

The pasture spreads out before me in soft, rolling hills of green grass.  Cartwheels!  The idea hits me... a short run and then turn cartwheel after cartwheel, spinning across the grass, feeling joy and freedom.  All right, I'd have to turn back the clock almost forty years, but the feeling lingers.

Scout stands in the same pasture watching h... More
It's evening chewie time, and Jake and Chloe settle down on the floor in the den and start chomping.  For several minutes, the air is filled with the slurps and smacks and crunches that always accompany this ritual.  They work hard at their task, Jake holding his between his paws and gnawing, and Chloe chewing the whole thing all at once, head in the air.

A little while later, Jak... More

I know lots of dog owners who give out treats a lot. I don't with Henry, my Pug, because Pugs get fat really easy, and to me, a fat Pug looks like a mini beached whale!

But I have one friend, Molly, who has a couple of dogs, Cocker Spaniels, and they don't just get treats, they demand them.  If you want them to do something, they won't do ... More
Did your head ever get hold of a song that you just couldn't shake out of it for days on end?  For a while, you stop thinking of that melody (which is fast becoming very annoying), then all of a sudden you're humming it again.  Your mind just keeps coming back to that same song, over and over.  It reminds me of a dog that finds something fascinating and has to return to it for days,... More
Dogs can be separated into two distinct categories:  Face Lickers and Non Face Lickers.  The early dogs in my life I seem to remember as belonging to the Non category.  Although, the Old English Sheepdog, Buffy, we had when I was about 5 or so may have been a Face Licker.  I remember her knocking me over into the mud in the back yard at our house in Waco, TX, so maybe she was j... More
Time does not change.  It's always the same.  The sun rises and sets and the moon goes through its cycles independent of watches and clocks.

But humans change time twice a year by changing the numbers.  Whirl the hands or digital numbers on watches and clocks one hour back or forward, and then just obey what they say.

But dogs have an internal time system, and you can'... More
Life nowadays is simple for a dog.  Well, for a dog with a good home anyway.  After all, a dog's needs themselves are pretty simple, aren't they?  I mean, shelter, food and someone to give you some love and attention now and then, what else does a dog need?

Oh, I know!  I forgot squeaky toys!  Every dog must have at least one squeaky toy.  What else are you goi... More
We took our morning walk at about 7am.  It was a bit cooler than usual, thanks to a cloud cover, so I felt especially chipper.  We had almost gotten back to the house when I smelled this really powerful aroma coming from somewhere over in the high grass.

Everyone else headed inside, but I lagged behind and trotted over to investigate.   Even at ten years old, I still have a g... More
When you're a kid, it's a romantic idea to find a stray dog and have it follow you home.  Lots of times it doesn't work out the way you want it to.  The dog decides to go a different route, or already has a home, or your parents won't let you keep it.  I never found my own stray when I was a kid.  It took a lot longer than that.

A little less than fourteen years ago, I f... More
Saturday afternoon, and I just got through doing about 2 1/2 hours worth of mowing.  I'm really ready to just sit down in my favorite chair, put my feet up and rest, have a nice cold drink and read a book for a while.

Pippa walks out the dog door squeaking her little man toy, and I think, Oh, good, she's going out by herself for a change.  Not 30 seconds later, she's back in and l... More
There are many ways to get the attention of your human.  And since they don't pay enough attention naturally, you have to force them pretty often.  They get distracted so easily.  They sit and gaze at different sorts of screens or open up blocks full of pages and look at them and turn the pages until it just drives you to distraction.&n... More

It was time for the annual vet visit for both of my dogs, and since they're usually very well-behaved, I decided to take them together.

During the 20minute ride... More

Picture a young, gangling, yellow Labrador Retriever with a big goofy grin, tongue hanging out, and a tail constantly on the wag. There you have George. No collar, but not a stray. Youthfully slim, but obviously well-fed. Just a roamer. One of those who opens the gate or jumps the fence during the day when nobody's home and roams the neighborhood with joy in his heart and lots of energy ... More
Over the years, I've had several dogs, and it seems like each time I start to train a new dog, I find a new way to train.  Or perhaps I should say I find new techniques to expand and refine the training knowledge I already have.

Training without Treats
I used to be dead set against training with treats.  Scout, my heeler mix was trained ent... More